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The Photogravure and Colour Series 



COMUS 



THE PHOTOGRAVURE AND COLOUR SERIES 



PHOTOGRAVURE VOLUMES 

OMAR KHAYYAM ; with xa Photosravures after Gilbert James. 
AUCASSIN AND NICOLETE; translated by Andrew Lang; with za Photo* 

gravnres after Gilbert James. 
MILTON'S PARADISE LOST; with xa Photogravures after William Strang. 
BLAIR'S GRAVE ; with la Photogravures after William Blakb. 
THE BOOKS OP RUTH AND ESTHER; with za Photogravures after 

Gilbert James. 
MILTON'S COMUS; with 8 Photogravures and 3 half-tone Illustrations after 

Jessie M. King. 
MATTHEW ARNOLD'S POEMS ; with xa Photogravures after Gilbert James. 
THE IMITATION OF CHRIST ; by Thomas k Kempis ; with za Photogravures 

after Celebrated Paintings. 

COLOUR VOLUMES 

HERRICK'S FLOWER POEMS; with za Coloured Plates by Florence 

Castle. , 

THE CHRISTMAS BOOK OF CAROLS AND POEMS; with 13 Coloured 

Plates by Alan Wright and Vernon Stokes. 









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COMUS 

A MASQUE 

BY 

JOHN MILTON 
With Ifftfstrations by JESSIE M. KING 




LONDON 

GEORGE ROUTLEDGE & SONS, LIMITED 

NEW YORK: E. P. DUTTON St CO. 
1906 



PR 

X 






I : 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



The soothest spirit that e'er pip'd on plains 


. ProntlBplece 


Comas : a Masqae . . . . . 


Tm^pve 


The persons ..... 


PW8 


The spirit in the wilde wood 


To face page 12 


No goblin or swart faery . . . . 


. „ 36 


Thyrsis ..... 


. „ 40 


To every wanderer .... 


„ 42 


The ladye in the enchanted chair . 


„ 52 


Carol her goodness 


. „ 60 


The flight of Sabrina 


,, 66 


Tailpiece ..... 


„ 82 




aE0iWE-R0VTUPQE-AnP-iK)m-I31? 1 





tom*fEssomfe 

ATTEHPAWT?' 

m-TTO-nABiT-or i 

! "corws" 
Mrm-nis-CREWi 

PTnDLAPYE.1 

trvro-i2RormLK5i 

"SABRIMA" ' 




This masque was first f resented at Ludlow Castle before the 
Earl of Brtdgewater^ then President of Wales ^ in 1634, that 
iSy in the twenty-sixth year of the poets age. The first edition 
was published in 1637, and states thcU it was presented on 
Michaelmas nighty appending the motto : 

'* Eheu quid volui misero mihi 1 floribus austrum 
Perditus." 



The first scene disco'oers a 'wUd <a)Ood. The ATTENDANT 
SPIRIT descends or enters. 



COMUS 



ATTENDANT SPIRIT 

Before the starry threshold of Jove's court 
My mansion is, where those immortal shapes 
Of bright aerial spirits live insphered 
In regions mild of calm and serene air, 
Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot 
Which men call Earth ; and, with low-thoughted care 
Confined, and pestered in this pinfold here. 
Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being, 
Unmindful of the crown that virtue gives. 
After this mortal change to her true servants 
Amongst the enthronM gods on sainted seats. 
Yet some there be that by due steps aspire 
To lay their just hands on that golden key 
That opes the palace of eternity. 
To such my errand is ; and, but for such, 
I w:ould not soil these pure ambrosial weeds 
With the rank vapours of this sin-worn mould. 
But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway 
Of every salt flood and each ebbing stream, 
Took in, by lot 'twixt high and nether Jove, 
Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles 
That, like to rich and various gems, inlay 

XI 



Comus 

The unadornM bosom of the deep ; 

Which he, to grace his tributary gods. 

By course commits to several government. 

And gives them leave to wear their sapphire crowns 

And wield their little tridents. But this Isle, 

The greatest and the best of all the main, 

He quarters to his blue-haired deities ; 

And all this tract that fronts the falling sun 

A noble Peer of mickle trust and power 

Has in his charge, with tempered awe to guide 

An old and haughty nation, proud in arms : 

Where his fair offspring, nursed in princely lore, 

Are coming to attend their father's state. 

And new-entrusted Sceptre. But their way 

Lies through the perplexed paths of this drear wood, 

The nodding horror of whose shady brows 

Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger; 

And here their tender age might suffer peril. 

But that, by quick command from sovran Jove, 

I was despatched for their defence and guard I 

And listen why; for I will tell you now 

What never yet was heard in tale or song. 

From old or modem bard, in hall or bower. 

Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape 
Crushed the sweet poison of misused wine, 
After the Tuscan mariners transformed. 
Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed. 
On Circe's island fell. (Who knows not Circe, 
The daughter of the sun, whose charmed cup 
Whoever tasted lost his upright shape. 
And downward fell into a grovelling swine?) 
This njrmph, that gazed upon his clustering locks, 
With ivy berries wreathed, and his blithe youth, 
Had by him, ere he parted thence, a son 
Much like his father but his mother more, 

xa 



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/WOOD -J 



An o:'i arid i*aa;,. v.'* • . 

Where his fair ^d-.; ••;. 

Are coming to atte*? : '. 

And new-entrustff '• S« - 

Ltcs through the y* ; <• ^ . . ' 

ill* r.c''uns^ ho^-'^- f^: w- : ^ ^ 

Aft 1.-:^ :.h^.r ^ i:^^ « n^v •■ ,: '. " . : • :. . 

jBut chat. b> v;j*''iv i-..*'^.^:--^'^;-" Is ^a v;/ 

1 was? ^<-*Np.irch *d •"." i:\Ci <:.'•;. ■ t ..,.'. . ■' 

A. id i.bca v^:y: fur I will i^u y^j i;v'v 
VvHut rjf:ve: >*et was heard in taie Oi .so\. 
From old or modern bard, in hall or t.-.n » 
Bacchus, that first from out the p« - i 
Crushed the sweet poison of mis;:> .v. 
After the Tuscan mariners transi^i 
Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as Vi}^- ^^ 
On Circe's island fell, (Who knr., ; 
The daughter of the sun, whose . ?%• 
Whoever tasted lost h;s upi i>:!l:* .. 
Ard downward fell into a g^^c v- :.. 
Th < nympl.. that gazf^u \ip.. '^ . 
\V-*' ;vv S^/ tes V; ..at,,?--^ . • 



Comus 

Whom therefore she brought up, and 'Comus' named: 
WhOy ripe and frolic of his full-grown age, 
Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields, 
At last betakes him to this ominous wood, 
And, in thick shelter of black shades embowered. 
Excels his mother at her mighty art ; 
Offering to every weary traveller 
His orient liquor in a crystal glass. 
To quench the drouth of Phoebus ; which as they taste 
(For most do taste through fond intemperate thirst). 
Soon as the potion works, their human count'nance, 
The express resemblance of the gods, is changed 
Into some brutish form of wolf or bear. 
Or ounce or tiger, hog, or bearded goat, 
All other parts remaining as they were. 
And they, so perfect is their misery. 
Not once perceive their foul disfigurement. 
But boast themselves more comely than before, 
And all their friends and native home forget. 
To roll with pleasure in a sensual sty. 
Therefore, when any favoured of high Jove 
Chances to pass through this adventurous glade. 
Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star 
I shoot from Heaven, to give him safe convoy, 
As now I do. But first I must put off 
These my sky-robes, spun out of Iris' woof. 
And take the weeds and likeness of a swain 
That to the service of this house belongs. 
Who, with his soft pipe and smooth-dittied song. 
Well knows to still the wild winds when they roar. 
And hush the waving woods ; nor of less faith, 
And in this office of his mountain watch 
Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid 
Of this occasion. But I hear the tread 
Of hateful steps ; I must be viewless now. 

13 



COM us enters, <wiih a charming-rod in one htavi, his gUss in 
the other t mth him a rout of monsters, headed tike sttndry 
sorts of 'Wild beasts, but otherwise like men and <women, their 
apparel glistering* They come in making a riotous and unruly 
noise, 'with torches in their hands* 



COMUS 

The star that bids the shepherd fold : 

Now the top of Heaven doth hold ; 

And the gilded car of day 

His glowing axle doth allay 

In the steep Atlantic stream : 

And the slope sun his upward beam 

Shoots against the dusky pole, 

Pacing toward the other goal 

Of his chamber in the east 

Meanwhile, welcome joy and feast, 

Midnight shout and revelry, 

Tipsy dance and jollity. 

Braid your locks with rosy twine, 

Dropping odours, dropping wine. 

Rigour now is gone to bed ; 

And Advice with scrupulous head. 

Strict Age, and sour Severity, 

With their grave saws, in slumber lie. 

We, that are of purer fire. 

Imitate the starry quire ; 

Who, in their nightly watchful spheres, 

Lead in swift round the months and years. 

The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove. 

Now to the moon in wavering morrice move ; 

And on the tawny sands and shelves 

Trip the pert fairies and the dapper elves. 

By dimpled brook and fountain-brim 

17 B 



Comus 

The wood-n3rmphs, decked with daisies trim, 

Their merry wakes and pastimes keep : 

What hath night to do with sleep? 

Night hath better sweets to prove; 

Venus now wakes, and wakens Love. 

Come, let us our rites begin ; 

Tis only daylight that makes sin, 

Which these dun shades will ne'er report. 

Hail, goddess of nocturnal sport. 

Dark-veiled Cotjrtto, to whom the secret flame 

Of midnight torches burns ! mysterious dame, 

That ne'er art called but when the dragon womb 

Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom, 

And makes one blot of all the air I' 

Stay thy cloudy ebon chair. 

Wherein thou ridest with Hecat', and befriend 

Us thy vowed priests, till utmost end 

Of all thy dues be done, and none left out 

Ere the blabbing eastern scout, 

The nice Morn on the Indian steep. 

From her cabined loophole peep. 

And to the tell-tale Sun descry 

Our concealed solemnity. 

Come, knit hands, and beat the ground 

In a light fantastic round. 

THE MEASURE 

Break off, break off I I feel the different pace 
Of some chaste footing near about this g^round. 
Run to your shrouds within these brakes and trees ; 
Our number may affright. Some virgin sure 
(For so I can distinguish by mine art) 
Benighted in these woods I Now to my charms, 
And to my wily trains : I shall ere long 

i8 



Comus 

Be well stocked with as fair a herd as grazed 

About my mother Circe. Thus I hurl 

My dazzling spells into the spongy air, 

Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion, 

And give it false presentments, lest the place 

And my quaint habits breed astonishment. 

And put the damsel to suspicious flight ; 

Which must not be, for that's against my course, 

I, under fair pretence of friendly ends, 

And well-placed words of glozing courtesy. 

Baited with reasons not unplausible. 

Wind me into the easy-hearted man. 

And hug him into snares. When once her eye 

Hath met the virtue of this magic dust 

I shall appear some harmless villager, 

Whom thrift keeps up about his country gear. 

But here she comes ; I fairly step aside. 

And hearken, if I may her business here. 



19 



The LADY enters. 



LADY 

This way the noise was, if mine ear be true. 
My best £:uide now. Methoug^ht it was the sound 
Of riot and ill-managed merriment, 
Such as the jocund flute or gameson pipe 
Stirs up among the loose unlettered hinds. 
When, for their teeming jRocks and granges full, 
In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan, 
And thank the gods amiss. I should be loth 
To meet the rudeness and swilled insolence 
Of such late wassailers ; yet, oh ! where else 
Shall I inform my unacquainted feet 
In the blind mazes of this tangled wood? 
My brothers, when they saw me wearied out 
With this long way, resolving here to lodge 
Under the spreading favour of these pines. 
Stepped, as they said, to the next thicket-side 
To bring me berries, or such cooling fruit 
As the kind hospitable woods provide. 
They left me then when the gray-hooded Even, 
Like a sad votarist in palmer's weed, 
Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phcebus' wain. 
But where they are, and why they came not back. 
Is now the labour of my thoughts. Tis likeliest 
They had engaged their wandering steps too far ; 
And envious darkness, ere they could return, 
Had stole them from me. Else, O thievish Night, 
Why shouldst thou, but for some felonious end, 

23 



Comus 

In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars 

That Nature hung in Heaven, and filled their lamps 

With everlasting oil, to give due light 

To the misled and lonely traveller? 

This is the place, as well as I may guess, 

Whence even now the tumult of loud mirth 

Was rife, and perfect in my listening ear ; 

Yet naught but single darkness do I find. 

What might this be? A thousand fantasies 

Begin to throng into my memory, v 

Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire. 

And airy tongues that syllable men's names 

On sands and shores and desert wildernesses. 

These thoughts may startle well, but not astound 

The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended 

By a strong siding champion. Conscience. 

O, welcome, pure-eyed Faith, white-handed Hope, 

Thou hovering angel girt with golden wings, 

And thou unblemished form of Chastity ! 

I see ye visibly, and now believe 

That He, the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill 

Are but as slavish officers of vengeance. 

Would send a glistering guardian, if need were, 

To keep my life and honour unassailed . • • 

Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud 

Turn forth her silver lining on the night? 

I did not err: there does a sable cloud 

Turn forth her silver lining on the night, 

And cast a gleam over this tufted grove. 

I cannot hallo to my brothers, but 

Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest 

ril venture ; for my new-enlivened spirits 

Prompt me, and they perhaps are not far off. 



Comus 



SONG 

Sweet Echo, sweetest nsrmph, that liv'st unseen 
Within thy airy shell, 
By slow Meander's marg^ent green. 
And in the violet-embroidered vale, 
Where the love-lorn nightingale 
Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well : 
Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair 
That likest thy Narcissus are? 

O, if thou have 
Hid them in some flowery cave, 
Tell me but where. 
Sweet Queen of Parley, Daug^hter of the Sphere ! 
So majTSt thou be translated to the skies. 
And give resounding grace to all Heaven's harmonies I 

COMUS 

Can any mortal mixture of earth's mould 
Breathe such divine enchanting ravishment? 
Sure something holy lodges in that breast, 
And with these raptures moves the vocal air 
To testify his hidden residence. 
How sweetly did they float upon the wings 
Of silence, through the empty-vaulted night. 
At every fall smoothing the raven down 
Of darkness till it smiled ! I have oft heard 
My mother Circe with the Sirens three. 
Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades, 
Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs. 
Who, as they sung, would take the prisoned soul. 
And lap it in Elysium: Scylla wept. 
And chid her barking waves into attention. 
And fell Charybdis murmured soft applause, 

25 



Comus 

Yet they in pleasing slumber lulled the sense, 

And in sweet madness robbed it of itself; 

But such a sacred and home-felt delight, 

Such sober certainty of waking bliss, 

I never heard till now. Fll speak to her, 

And she shall be my queen.— Hail, foreign wonder! 

Whom certain these rough shades did never breed, 

Unless the goddess that in rural shrine 

Dwell'st here with Pan or Sylvan, by blest song 

Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog 

To touch the prosperous growth of this tall wood. 

LADY 

Nay, gentle shepherd, ill is lost that praise 
That is addressed to unattending ears. 
Not any boast of skill, but extreme shift 
How to regain my severed company. 
Compelled me to awake the courteous Echo 
To give me answer from her mossy couch. 

COMUS 
What chance, good Lady, hath bereft you thus? 

LADY 
Dim darkness and this leafy labyrinth. 

COMUS 

Could that divide you from near-ushering guides? 

LADY 

They left me weary on a grassy tur£ 

COMUS 

By falsehood, or discourtesy, or why? 

26 



Comus 

LADY 

To seek i* the valley some cool, friendly, spring. 

COMUS 
And left your fair side all unguarded, Lady? 

LADY 
They were but twain, and purposed quick return. 

COMUS 
Perhaps forestalling night prevented them. 

LADY 

How easy my misfortune is to hit 1 

COMUS 
Imports their loss, beside the present need ? 

LADY 

No less than if I should my brothers lose. 

COMUS 
Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom ? 

LADY 

As smooth as Hebe's their unrazored lips. 

COMUS 

Two such I saw what time the laboured ox 
In his loose traces from the furrow came. 
And the swinked* hedger at his supper sat 

* Tired, from ' swink ', to toil or Uibonr. 
37 



Comus 

I saw them under a green mantling vine, 

That crawls along the side of yon small hill, 

Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots ; 

Their port was more than human, as they stood. 

I took it for a faery vision 

Of some gay creatures of the element. 

That in the colours of the rainbow live. 

And play i' the plighted clouds. I was awe-strook, 

And, as I passed, I worshipped ; if those you seek, 

It were a journey like the path to Heaven 

To help you find them. 

LADY 

Gentle villager. 
What readiest way would bring me to that place ? 

COMUS 
Due west it rises from this shrubby point 

LADY 

To find out that, good shepherd, I suppose, 
In such a scant allowance of star-light. 
Would overtask the best land-pilot's art, 
Without the sure guess of well-practised feet. 

COMUS 
I know each lane, and every alley gjeen. 
Dingle, or bushy dell, of this wild wood. 
And every bosl^ bourn from side to side, 
My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood ; 
And, if your stray attendants be yet lodged, 
Or shroud within these limits, I shall know 
Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark 

28 



Comus 

From her thatched pallet rouse. If otherwise, 
I can conduct you, Lady, to a low 
But loyal cottage, where you may be safe 
Till further quest 

LADY 

Shepherd, I take thy word, 
And trust thy honest-offered courtesy. 
Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds 
With smoky rafters than in tapestry halls 
And courts of princes, where it first was named, 
And yet is most pretended. In a place 
Less warranted than this, or less secure, 
I cannot be, that I should fear to change it 
Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial 
To my proportioned strength I . Shepherd, lead on. 



Enter ^ iw) BROTHERS. 



ELDER BROTHER 

Unmuffle, ye faint stars ; and thou, fair moon. 
That wont'st to love the traveller's benizon, 
Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud, 
And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here 
In double night of darkness and of shades ; 
Or, if your influence be quite damned up 
With black usurping mists, some gentle taper. 
Though a rush-candle from the wicker hole 
Of some clay habitation, visit us 
With thy long levelled rule of streaming light, 
And thou shalt be our star of Arcady, 
Or Tyrian Cynosure. 

SECOND BROTHER 

Or, if our eyes 
Be barred that happiness, might we but hear 
The folded flocks, penned in their wattled cotes, 
Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops. 
Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock 
Count the night-watches to his feathery dames, 
Twould be some solace yet, some little cheering. 
In this close dungeon of innumerous boughs. 
But, Oh, that hapless virgin, our lost sister I 
Where may she wander now, whither betake her 
From the chill dew, amongst rude burs and thistles ? 
Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now, 

33 c 



Comus 

Or gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm 
Leans her unpillowed head^ fraught with sad fears. 
What if in wild amazement and affright, 
Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp 
Of savage hunger, or of savage heat I 

ELDER BROTHER 

Peace, brother : be not over-exquisite 
To cast the fashion of uncertain evils ; 
For, grant they be so, while they rest unknown, 
What need a man forestall his date of grief. 
And run to meet what he would most avoid ? 
Or, if they be but false alarms of fear, 
How bitter is such self-delusion ! 
I do not think my sister so to seek, 
Or so unprincipled in virtue's book. 
And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever, 
As that the single want of light and noise 
(Not being in danger, as I trust she is not) 
Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts, 
And put them into misbecoming plight 
Virtue could see to do what virtue would 
By her own radiant light, though sun and moon 
Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self 
Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude, 
Where, with her best nurse. Contemplation, 
She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings, 
That, in the various bustle of resort, 
Were all to-ruffled, and sometimes impaired. 
He that has light within his own clear breast 
May sit i' the centre, and enjoy bright day : 
But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts, 
Benighted walks under the midday sun : 
Himself is his own dungeon. 

34 



Comus 

SECOND BROTHER 

Tis most true 
That musing Meditation most affects 
The pensive secresy of desert ceil, 
Far from the cheerful haunt of men and herds, 
And sits as safe as in a senate house ; 
For who would rob a hermit of his weeds, 
His few books, or his beads, or maple dish, 
Or do his gray hairs any violence? 
But Beauty, like the fair Hesperian tree. 
Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard 
Of dragon-watch with unenchanted eye 
To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit. 
From the rash hand of bold Incontinence. 
You may as well spread out the unsunned heaps 
Of misers' treasure by an outlaw's den, 
And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope 
Danger will wink on Opportunity, 
And let a single helpless maiden pass 
Uninjured in this wild surrounding waste. 
Of night or loneliness it recks me not ; 
I fear the dread events that dog them both. 
Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person 
Of our unownM sister. 



ELDER BROTHER 

I do not, brother. 
Infer as if I thought my sister's state 
Secure without all doubt or controversy; 
Yet, where an equal poise of hope and fear 
Does arbitrate the event, my nature is 
That I incline to hope rather than fear, 
And gladly banish squint suspicion. 

35 



Comus 

My sister is not so defenceless left 

As you imagine ; she has a hidden strength 

Which you remember not. 



SECOND BROTHER 

What hidden strength, 
Unless the strength of Heaven, if you mean that? 



ELDER BROTHER 

I mean that too, but yet a hidden strength, 
Which, if Heaven gave it, may be termed her own. 
'Tis chastity, my brother, chastity : 
She that has that is clad in complete steel. 
And, like a quivered nymph with arrows keen. 
May trace huge forests and unharboured heaths, 
Infamous hills, and sandy perilous wilds, 
Where, through the sacred rays of chastity. 
No savage fierce, bandit, or mountaineer, 
Will dare to soil her virgin purity. 
Yea, there where very desolation dwells. 
By grots aiid caverns shagged with horrid shades 
She may pass on with unblenched majesty. 
Be it not done in pride, or in presumption. 
Some say no evil thing that walks by night, 
In fog or fire, by lake or moorish fen. 
Blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost, 
That breaks his magic chains at curfew time. 
No goblin or swart faery of the mine. 
Hath hurtful power o-'er true virginity. 
Do ye believe me yet, or shall I call 
Antiquity from the old schools of Greece 
To testify the arms of chastity? 

36 



.. .^^_ 



'"'^je __•, 



■■ ««?•" 



rr, 



'•?';*•■ 






^ I'. 



BRfOA* 



Com.: 

' / -,S'U r IS iiii) no defeiirelcj:. 
A- y.sj im-itci'ic; sht hu.s a »* c 



'nicss t^ 






: .1'. breaks hiv r.\c\n/. <.iu{;v^ a^ Lur> 
^^ . goblin or swart faery of th-j- mine, 
i^irh hurtful power o^tr true virg-inity. 
Do j'e believe m^? yet, or shall I call 
Antiquity from the old schools of Cr- 
To testify tiie arms of chastity? 

36 







-^■-^ I 






v^ '#-*■■ ■'■"% / •■ - ■- ■ • ■*■■ '"^ 

»j *? >: i' / 4**" a*"*'- .■■.■■■■ ' » "^ 




















'/■'■if *Tf" '•*"*•■■ 



|riO-GQM-0!^5VMT-ggmWlt! 




Comus 

Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow. 
Fair silver-shafted queen for ever chaste, 
Wherewith she tamed the brinded lioness 
And spotted mountain-pard, but set at naught 
The frivolous bolt of Cupid ; gods and men 
Feared her stern frown, and she was queen o' the woods. 
What was that snaky-headed Gorgon shield 
That wise Minerva wore, unconquered virgin, 
Wherewith she freezed her foes to congealed stone, 
But rigid looks of chaste austerity, 
And noble grace that dashed brute violence 
With sudden adoration and blank awe? 
So dear to Heaven is saintly chastity 
That, when a soul is found sincerely so, 
A thousand liveried angels lackey her, 
Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt. 
And in clear dream and solemn vision 
Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear; 
Till oft converse with heavenly habitants 
Begin to cast a beam on the outward shape. 
The unpolluted temple of the mind. 
And turns it by degrees to the soul's essence, 
Till all be made immortal. But, when lust. 
By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk, 
But most by lewd and lavish act of sin, 
Lets in defilement to the inward parts. 
The soul grows clotted by contagion. 
Embodies, and embrutes, till she quite lose 
The divine property of her first being. 
Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp 
Oft seen in charnel-vaults and sepulchres. 
Lingering, and sitting by a new-made grave, 
As loth to leave the body that it loved, 
And linked itself by carnal sensuality 
To a degenerate and degraded state. 

37 



Comus 

SECOND BROTHER 

How charming is divine Philosophy! 
Not harsh and crabbed, as. dull fools suppose, 
But musical as is Apollo's lute, 
And a perpetual feast of nectared sweets, 
Where no crude surfeit reigns. 

ELDER BROTHER 

List, list r I hear 
Some far-off hallo break the silent air% 

SECOND BROTHER 

Methought so too ; what should it be ? 

ELDER BROTHER 

For certain 
Either some one, like us, night-foundered here, 
Or else some neighbour woodman, or at worst, 
Some roving robber calling to his fellows. 

SECOND BROTHER 

Heaven keep my sister I Again, again, and near I 
Best draw, and stand upon our guard. 

ELDER BROTHER 

ril hallo. 
If he be friendly, he comes well : if not. 
Defence is a good cause, and Heaven be for us I 



Enter the ATTENDANT SPIRIT, habUed Ukt « shcphenL 

ft 

I 






»\ 



1 • 

» 



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^^•=:^' 






SSf. ■■ ■' 










Wl 



Wn05E-AKmi-5TIlAlM5'nAVE-on-PlLAlP 
|TnL-nUPPLm(3'BRQ(KTQ-nEAR-n5'nftPRBftL 



ELDER BROTHER 

That hallo I should know. What are you? Speak 1 
Come not too near; you fall on iron stakes else. 

SPIRIT 
What voice is that? My young Lord? Speak again. 

SECOND BROTHER 

brother !, 'tis my father's Shepherd, sure. 

ELDER BROTHER 

Th3rrsis?y whose artful strains have oft delayed 
The huddling brook to hear his madrigal, 
And sweetened every musk-rose of the dale. 
How camest thou here, good swain ? Hath any ram 
Slipped from the fold, or young kid lost his dam. 
Or straggling wether the pent flock forsook ? 
How couldst thou find this dark sequestered nook? 

SPIRIT 

O, my loved master's heir, and his next joy ! 

1 came not here on such a trivial toy 

As a strayed ewe, or to pursue the stealth 
Of pilfering wolf; not all the fleecy wealth 
That doth enrich these downs is worth a thought 
To this my errand, and the care it brought. 
But, O, my virgin Lady !, where is she ? 
How chance she is not in your company ? 

41 



Comus 

ELDER BROTHER 

To tell thee sadly, Shepherd, without blame 
Or our neglect, we lost her as we came. 

SPIRIT 

Ay me unhappy! Then my fears are true! 

ELDER BROTHER 

What fears, good Thyrsis? Prythee briefly shew. 

SPIRIT 

ril tell ye. Tis not vain or fabulous 
(Though so esteemed by shallow ignorance) 
What the sage poets, taught by the heavenly Muse, 
Storied of old in high immortal verse 
Of dire Chimeras and enchanted isles. 
And rifted rocks whose entrance leads to Hell ; 
For such there be, but unbelief is blind. 
Within the navel of this hideous wood, 
Immured in cypress shades, a sorcerer dwells, 
Of Bacchus and of Circe born, great Comus, 
Deep skilled in all his mother's witcheries. 
And here to every thirsty wanderer 
By sly enticement gives his baneful cup, 
^A/ith many murmurs mixed, whose pleasing poison 
The visage quite transforms of him that drinks. 
And the inglorious likeness of a beast 
Fixes instead, unmoulding reason's mintage 
Charactered in the face. This have I learnt 
Tending my flocks hard by i' the hilly crofts 
That brow this bottom glade ; whence night by night 
He and his monstrous rout are heard to howl 
Like stabled wolves, or tigers at their prey. 
Doing abhorred rites to Hecate 

42 



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fi&ME:('Vii^OTR-(!rvi5'Rmtrjii-a)P 



Comus 

V\'.DnR BROTHER 

^\tti- sac.y. >^rM r^i-^-ni, without h.3 



/'■> .^.t 1 ;■;',:.;■ . : - • :\ \ y irars are :■*■:;- 
'^ . * .^ BROTH ^*^ 

T'n .^'1 'r : T' '■ '-■".. vain .•• '•'.■. 



Wr 



.. ? rrii^^ of hirii ^'\-: 
^leness of a beasl 



^ixrs ' . .^'-/uiding- reasons u n 

'hr^ : .'.:e face. This have I '. 

Terc V • ? o«:ks hard by i' the h\: 

7 :»* .^^ r. s bottom glade; wl*'^- . . 

I. . '.' . monstrous rout drc i- » : 

: ♦ \ led wolves, or t'-^t-r- .v ' 

; , : .horrid rites to i ! ^ j 




ii>MKr-uraRER-(iiv&ii&Miim'aiR 



f Comus 

i 

In their obscured haunts of inmost bowers. 
Yet have they many baits and guileful spells 

[ To inveigle and invite the unwary sense 

Of them that pass unweeting by the way. 

I This evening late, by then the chewing flocks 

Had ta'en their supper on the savoury herb 
Of knot-grass dew-besprent, and were in fold, 
I sat me down to watch upon a bank 
With ivy canopied, and interwove 

\ With flaunting honeysuckle, and began, 

Wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy, 

I To meditate my rural minstrelsy, 

Till fancy had her fill. But ere a close 
The wonted roar was up amidst the woods. 
And filled the air with barbarous dissonance ; 
At which I ceased, and listened them a while, « 
Till an unusual stop of sudden silence 
Gave respite to the drowsy-flighted steeds 
That draw the litter of close-curtained Sleep. 
At last a soft and solemn-breathing sound 
Rose like a steam of rich distilled perfumes. 
And stole upon the air, that even Silence 
Was took ere she was ware, and wished she might 
Deny her nature, and be never more. 
Still to be so displaced. I was all ear. 
And took in strains that might create a soul 
Under the ribs of Death. But, oh, ere long 
Too well I did perceive it was the voice 
Of my most honoured Lady, your dear sister. 
Amazed I stood, harrowed with grief and fear ; 
And, ' Oh, poor hapless nightingale ', thought I, 
* How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly snare ! ' 
Then down the lawns I ran with headlong haste. 
Through paths and turnings often trod by day, 
Till, guided by mine ear, I found the place 

43 



Comus 

Where that damned wizard, hid in sly disguise 
(For so by certain signs I knew), had met 
Already, ere my best speed could prevent, 
The aidless innocent lady, his wished prey ; 
Who gently asked if he had seen such two, 
Supposing him some neighbour villager. 
Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guessed 
Ye were the two she meant; with that I sprung 
Into swift flight, till I had found you here ; 
But further know I not 

SECOND BROTHER 

O night and shades, 
How are ye joined with Hell in triple knot 
Against the unarmed weakness of one virgin, 
Alone and helpless 1 Is this the confidence 
You gave me, brother ? 

ELDER BROTHER 

Yes, and keep it still ; 
Lean on it safely; not a period 
Shall be unsaid for me. Against the threats 
Of malice or of sorcery, or that power 
Which erring men call Chance, this I hold firm : 
Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt, 
Surprised by unjust force, but not enthralled ; 
Yea, even that which Mischief meant most harm 
Shall in the happy trial prove most glory. 
But evil on itself shall back recoil, 
And mix no more with goodness, when at last, 
Gathered like scum, and settled to itself^ 
It shall be in eternal restless change 
Self-fed and self-consumed. If this fail. 
The pillared firmament is rottenness, 

44 



Comus 

And earth's base built on stubble. But come, let's on I 

Against the opposing will and arm of Heaven 

May never this just sword be lifted up ; 

Bu^ for that damned magician, let him be girt 

With all the griesly legions that troop 

Under the sutty flag of Acheron, 

Harpies and Hydras, or all the monstrous forms 

Twixt Africa and Ind, FU find him out, 

And force him to return his purchase back. 

Or drag him by the curls to a foul death, 

Cursed as his life. 



SPIRIT 

Alas ! good venturous youth, 
I love thy courage yet, and bold emprise ; 
But here thy sword can do thee little stead. 
For other arms and other weapons must 
Be those that quell the might of hellish charms. 
He with his bare wand can unthread thy joints, 
And crumble all thy sinews. 



ELDER BROTHER 

Why, prithee, Shepherd, 
How durst thou then thyself approach so near 
As to make this relation ? 



SPIRIT 

Care and utmost shifts 
How to secure the Lady from surprisal 
Brought to my mind a certain shepherd lad, 

45 



Comus 

Of small regard to see to, yet well skilled 

In every virtuous plant and healing herb 

That spread her verdant leaf to the morning ray. 

He loved me well, and oft would beg me sing ; 

Which when I did, he on the tender grass 

Would sit, and hearken even to ecstasy, 

And in requital ope his leathern script, 

And show me simples of a thousand names. 

Telling their strange and vigorous faculties. 

Amongst the r^st a small, unsightly, root, 

But of divine effect, he culled me out. 

The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it. 

But in another country, as he said. 

Bore a bright, golden, flower, but not in this soil : 

Unknown, and like esteemed, and the dull swain 

Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon ; 

And yet more med'cinal is it than that Moly 

That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave. 

He called it * Haemony *, and gave it me, 

And bade me keep it as of sovran use 

'Gainst all enchantments, mildew, blast, or damp, 

Or ghastly Furies' apparition. 

I pursed it up, but little reckoning made, 

Till now that this extremity compelled. 

But now I find it true ; for by this means 

I knew the foul enchanter, though disguised, 

Entered the very lime-twigs of his spells. 

And yet came off. If you. have this about you 

(As I will give you when we go), you may 

Boldly assault the necromancer's hall ; 

Where if he be, with dauntless hardihood 

And brandished blade rush on him : break his glass. 

And shed the luscious liquor on the ground. 

But seize his wand. Though he and his curst crew 

Fierce sign of battle make, and menace high, 1 

] 



Comus 

Or, like the sons of Vulcan, vomit smoke, 
Yet will they soon retire, if he but shrink. 

ELDER BROTHER 

Thyrsis, lead on apace ; Til follow thee ; 

And some good angel bear a shield before us ! 



47 



The scene changes to 3. stately palace, set oat <with aU manner 
of deliciousntss: soft musk, tables spread *with aU dainties^ 
COMUS appears <wtth his rabble, and the LADY set In an 
enchanted chair : to 'whom he offers his glass, 'which she pats by, 
and goes about to rise* 



COMUS 

Nay, lady, sit ; if I but wave this wand, 
Your nerves are all chained up in alabaster, 
And you a statue, or as Daphne was, 
Root-bound, that fled Apollo. 

LADY 

Fool, do not boast 
Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind 
With all thy charms, although this corporal rind 
Thou hast immanacled while Heaven sees good. 

COMUS 
Why are you vexed, Lady? Why do you frown? 
Here dwell no frowns, nor anger; from these gates 
Sorrow flies far. See, here be all the pleasures 
That fancy can beget on youthful thoughts, 
When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns 
Brisk as the April buds in primrose season. 
And first behold this cordial julep here, 
That flames and dances in his crystal bounds. 
With spirits of balm and fragrant syrups mixed. 
Not that Nepenthes which the wife of Thone, 
In Egypt gave to Jove-bom Helena 
Is of such power to stir up joy as this, 
To life so friendly, or so cool to thirst 
Why should you be so cruel to yourself, 
And to those dainty limbs, which Nature lent 

51 



Comus 

For gentle usage and soft delicacy? 

But you invert the covenants of her trusty 

And harshly deal, like an ill borrower. 

With that which you received on other terms, 

Scorning the unexempt condition 

By which all mortal frailty must subsist. 

Refreshment after toil, ease after pain, 

That have been tired all day without repast. 

And timely rest have wanted. But, fair virgin, 

This will restore all soon. 

LADY 

Twill not, false traitor I 
Twill not restore the truth and honesty 
That thou hast banished from thy tong^ue with lies. 
Was this the cottage, and the safe abode. 
Thou told'st me of? What grim aspects are these, 
These ugly-headed monsters? Mercy guard mel 
Hence with thy brewed enchantments, foul deceiver I 
Hast thou betrayed my credulous innocence 
With visored falsehood, and base forgery? 
And wouldst thou seek again to trap me here 
With liquorish baits, fit to ensnare a brute ? 
Were it a draught for Juno when she banquets, 
I would not taste thy treasonous offer. None 
But such as are good men^ can give good things; 
And that which is not good is not delicious 
To a well-governed and wise appetite. 

COMUS 

O foolishness of men, that lend their ears 
To those budge doctors of the Stoic fur. 
And fetch their precepts from the Cynic tub, 
Praising the lean and sallow Abstinence 1 

52 




TnC-LAP^-5ET'IH-"ITlE-EHCmmiI)- omK- 



Comus 

Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth 

With such a full and unwithdrawing hand, 

Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks. 

Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable. 

But all to please and sate the curious taste? 

And set to work millions of spinning worms. 

That in their green shops weave the smooth-haired silk 

To deck her sons ; and, that no corner might 

Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loins 

She hutched the all-worshipped ore, and precious gems. 

To store her children with. If all the world 

Should, in a pet of temperance, feed on pulse. 

Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but frieze. 

The All-giver would be unthanked, would be unpraised, 

Not half his riches known, and yet despised ; 

And we should serve him as a grudging master, 

As a penurious niggard of his wealth. 

And live like Nature's bastards, not her sons, 

Who would be quite surcharged with her own weight. 

And strangled with her waste fertility: 

The earth cumbered, and the winged air darked with 

plumes, 
The herds would over-multitude their lords ; 
The sea o'erfraught would swell, and the unsought 

diamonds 
Would so emblaze the forehead of the deep. 
And so bestud with stars, that they below 
Would grow inured to light, and come at last 
To gaze upon the sun with shameless brows. 
List, Lady, be not coy, and be not cozened 
With that same vaunted name, Virginity. 
Beauty is Nature's coin ; must not be hoarded, 
But must be current ; and the good thereof 
Consists in mutual and partaken bliss. 
Unsavoury in the enjojrment of itself. 

53 



Comus 

If you let slip time, like a neglected rose 

It withers on the stalk with lang^uished head 

Beauty is Nature's brag, and must be shown 

In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities. 

Where most may wonder at the workmanship. 

It is for homely features to keep home ; 

They had their name thence : coarse complexions 

And cheeks of sorry grain will serve to ply 

The sampler, and to tease the huswife's wooL 

What need a vermeil-tinctured lip for that, 

Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the morn ? 

There was another meaning in these gifts ; 

Think what, and be advised : you are but young yet 

LADY 
I had not thought to have unlocked my*lips 
In this unhallowed air, but that this juggler 
Would think to charm my judgment, as mine eyes. 
Obtruding false rules prankt in reason's garb. 
I hate when vice can bolt her arguments 
And virtue has no tong^ue to check her pride. 
Impostor 1, do not charge most innocent Nature, 
As if she would her children should be riotous 
With her abundance. She, good cateress, 
Means her provision only to the good, 
That live according to her sober laws, 
And holy dictate of spare Temperance. 
If every just man that now pines with want 
Had but a moderate and beseeming share 
Of that which lewdly-pampered Luxury 
Now heaps upon some few with vast excess. 
Nature's full blessings would be well dispensed 
In unsuperfluous even proportion. 
And she no whit encumbered with her store; 

54 



Comus 

And then the Giver would be better thanked, 

His praise due paid : for swinish gluttony 

Ne'er looks to Heaven amidst his gorgeous feast. 

But with besotted base ingratitude 

Crams, and blasphemes his Feeder. Shall I go on? 

Or have I said enow? To him that dares 

Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words 

Against the sun-clad power of chastity, 

Fain would I something say— yet to what end? 

Thou hast nor ear, nor soul, to apprehend 

The sublime notion and high mystery 

That must be uttered to unfold the sage 

And serious doctrine of Virginity ; 

And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know 

More happiness than this thy present lot. 

Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric, 

That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence ; 

Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinced. 

Yet, should I try, the uncontroUfed worth 

Of this pure cause would kindle my rapt spirits 

To such a flame of sacred vehemence 

That dumb things would be moved to sympathize. 

And the brute earth would lend her nerves, and shake, 

Till all thy magic structures, reared so high. 

Were shattered into heaps o'er thy false head 



COMUS 
She fables not: I feel that I do fear 
Her words set off by some superior power ; 
And though not mortal, yet a cold shuddering dew 
Dips me all o'er, as when the wrath of Jove 
Speaks thunder and the chains of Erebus 
To some of Saturn's crew. I must dissemble, 
And try her yet more strongly. — Come, no more I 

55 



Comus 

This is mere moral babble, and direct 
Agrainst the canon laws of our foundation ; 
I must not suffer this ; yet 'tis but the lees 
And settlings of a melancholy blood. 
But this will cure all straight ; one sip of this 
Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight 
Beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wisei and taste. 



56 



The BROTHERS rush in <wHh s^ooords dramn, <a)rest his gUss 
oat of his hand, and break it against the grotmd: his root make 
sign of resistance, bat are all driven in* The ATTENDANT 
SPIRIT comes in» 



SPIRIT 

What, have you let the false enchanter scape ? 
O ly ye mistook ; ye should have snatched his wand. 
And bound him fast Without his rod reversed, 
And backward mutters of dissevering power, 
We cannot free the lady that sits here 
In stony fetters fixed, and motionless. 
Yet stay : be not disturbed ; now I bethink me. 
Some other means I have which may be used, 
Which once of Melibceus old I learnt, 
The soothest shepherd that e'er piped on plains. 
There is a gentle Nymph not far from hence, 
That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn stream : 
Sabrina is her name, a virgin pure ; 
Whilom she was the daughter of Locrine, 
That had the sceptre from his father Brute. 
She, guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuit 
Of her enragM stepdame, Guendolen, 
Commended her fair innocence to the flood 
That stayed her flight with his cross-fiowing course. 
The water-nymphs, that in the bottom played, 
Held up their pearled wrists, and took her in. 
Bearing her straight to aged Nereus' hall ; 
Who, piteous of our woes, reared her lank head, 
And gave her to his daughters to embathe 
In nectared lavers strewed with asphodil, 
And through the porch and inlet of each sense 
Dropped in ambrosial oils till she revived, 

59 



Comus 

And underwent a quick immortal change, 

Made Goddess of the river. Still she retains 

Her maiden gentlenessi and oft at eve 

Visits the herds along the twilight meadows. 

Helping all urchin blasts, and ill-luck signs 

That the shrewd meddling elf delights to make. 

Which she with precious vialed liquors heals : 

For which the shepherds, at their festivals, 

Carol her goodness loud in rustic lays. 

And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream 

Of pansies, pinks, and gaudy daffodils. 

And, as the old swain said, she can unlock 

The clasping charm, and thaw the numbing spell, 

If she be right invoked in* warbled song ; 

For maidenhood she loves, and will be swift 

To aid a virgin, such as was herself. 

In hard-besetting need.. This will I try. 

And add the power of some adjuring verse. 



SONG 
Sabrina fair, 

Listen where thou art sitting 
Under the glassy, cool, translucent, wave. 

In twisted braids of lilies knitting 
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair ; 
Listen for dear honour's sake. 
Goddess of the silver lake. 
Listen, and save! 

Listen, and appear to us. 
In name of great Oceanus ; 
By the earth shaking Neptune's mace. 
And Tethys' grave majestic pace ; 
By hoary Nereus' wrinkled look, 

60 



;^nj 



lA 










/ ^^J 









I. 
Comus f 



And underwent a quick immortal change, 
Made Goddess of the river. Stiil she retains 
Her maiden gentleness, and oft at eve 
Visits the herds along the twilight meadows, 
Helping all urchin blasts, and ill-luck signs 
That the shrewd meddling elf delights to make, 
Which she with precious vialed liquors hejls : 
For which the shepherds, at their festivals^ 
Carol her goodness loud in rustic lays, 
And throw sweet garland wreaths into hf*r stream 
Of pansies, pinks, and gaudy daffodils. 
And, as the old swain said, she can ujji<»v*;i 
The ciaspi'-'jR: charm, and thaw the nuazbing spell, 
If she be n>r:ht inrnked in warb>d >vong; 
For n^aidenb./od she lo^-r^-, and Will be swift 
To ..i:v! a vi-.'-^n. stich as was r;A.st:?if, 
J\: :.:: r-r-r.r'J ..• •• •••.:. '■ l\'\ will I try, 

/ :- , .. '•: ^' »'»-'>4 - ;• -. ivc atijaim^ v/;rr^e. 



<• » 



L :>-'aing- 



l'.i'\^r t'. . i:'-/-' •-.'• 1, lianslurrf-t. ••. ,, 

In t'"':,:- . bia.'--^ ^'i :-.:..n kvc • 
Th'.? ]ua'.i: tmin o^ th? ^ir/jr ^ c • .. uair; 
Li-*it^*i fv;r Ctar hoautn s -.-.^ - 
Goiiiiess of the silver :..-iir 
Listen, and Sdvi' ' 

Listen, and appear ^^ r*. . 

In name of great d * ; 

By the earth ^sh.-.kv. ; :,-: ^ -nt-^s mace, 

And Tethys' gr,i\:^ : • -^i^ pace; 

By hoary Note- * -^ ..- i.d look, 



J 




















feEili^'SiTlt 



1*1: »•*, 



pR0LjtTOQg^115i£IUP-lfl-KU3nCN:lA: 




Comus 

And the Carpathian wizard's hook ; 
By scaly Triton's winding shell, 
And old soothsaying Glaucus' spell ; 
By Leucothea's lovely hands, 
And her son that rules the strands ; 
By Thetis' tinsel-slippered feet, 
And the songs of sirens sweet ; 
By dead Parthenope's dear tomb, 
And fair Ligea's golden comb. 
Wherewith she sits on diamond rocks 
Sleeking her soft alluring locks ; 
By all the nymphs that nightly dance 
Upon thy streams with wily glance; 
Rise, rise, and heave thy rosy head 
From thy coral-paven bed, 
And bridle in thy headlong wave. 
Till thou our summons answered have. 

Listen, and save 1 



6x 



SABRINA rises, Mended iy ^vAter-n^tnphs, and sings* 



SABRINA'S SONG 

By the nishy-fringM bank, 
Where gjows the willow and the osier dank. 

My sliding chariot stays, 
Thick set with agate, and the azure sheen 
Of turkis blue, and emerald gjeen, 
That in the channel strays ; 
Whilst from off the waters fleet 
Thus I set my printless feet 
O'er the cowslip's velvet head, 

That bends not as I tread. 
Gentle swain, at thy request 
I am here 1 

SPIRIT 

Goddess dear, 

We implore thy powerful hand 

To undo the charmed band 

Of true virgin here distressed. 

Through the force and through the wile 

Of unblest enchanter vile. 

SABRINA 

ShepheM, 'tis my office best 
To help ensnared chastity. 
Brightest Lady, look on me. 
Thus I sprinkle on thy breast 
Drops, that from my fountain pure 

65 ^ 



Comus 

I have kept of precious cure ; 
Thrice upon thy finger's tip, 
Thrice upon thy rubied lip : 
Next this marble venomed seat, 
Smeared with gums of glutinous heat, 
I touch with chaste palms moist and cold. 
Now the spell hath lost his hold ; 
And I must haste, ere morning hour, 
To wait in Amphitrite*s bower. 



66 





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SABRINA descends, and the LADY rises out of her seat* 



SPIRIT 

Virgin, daug^hter of Locrine, 
Sprung: of old Anchises' line. 
May thy brimmed waves for this 
Their full tribute never miss 
From a thousand petty rills, 
That tumble down the snowy hills : 
Summer drouth or singed air 
Never scorch thy tresses fair, 
Nor wet October's torrent flood 
Thy molten crystal fill with mud ; 
May thy billows roll ashore 
The beryl and the golden ore ; 
May thy lofty head be crowned 
With many a tower and terrace round, 
And here and there thy banks upon 
With g^roves of m]rrrh and cinnamon. 

Come, Lady, while Heaven lends us grace, 
Let us fly this cursed place. 
Lest the sorcerer us entice 
With some other new device. 
Not a waste or needless sound 
Till we come to holier ground. 
I shall be your faithful guide 
Through this gloomy covert wide; 
And not many furlongs thence 
Is your Father's residence. 
Where this night are met in state 

<59, 



Comus 

Many a friend to gratulate 

His wished presence, and, beside 

All the swains that near abide 

With jigs and rural dance resort. 

We shall catch them at their sport, 

And our sudden coming there 

Will double all their mirth and cheer. 

Come, let us haste ; the stars grow high. 

But Night sits monarch yet in the mid sky. 



70. 



The Scene changes, presenting Ludlow Town tmd the Preskknt^s 
Castte: then come in Country Dancers; a^fter them the ATTEND- 
ANT SPIRIT <wHh the two BROTHERS smd the LADY. ' 



SONG OF THE SPIRIT 

Back, shepherds, back ! Enough your play* 

Till next sunshine holiday. 

Here be, without duck or nod, 

Other trippings to be trod 

Of lighter toes, and such court guise 

As Mercury did first devise 

With the mincing Dryades 

On the lawns and on the leas. 



73 



This second song presents them to their Fxther jmd Mother* 



THE SECOND SONG OF THE SPIRIT 

Noble Lord, and Lady bright, 
I have brought ye new delight. 
Here behold so goodly grown 
Three fair branches of your own. 
Heaven hath timely tried their youth, 
Their faith, their patience, and their truth, 
And sent them here through hard assays 
With a crown of deathless praise, 
To triumph in victorious dance 
O'er sensual folly and intemperance. 



77 



The dsmces ended, the SPIRIT epUoguises* 



SPIRIT 

To the ocean now I fly. 
And those happy climes that lie 
Where day never shuts his eye, 
Up in the broad fields of the sky. 
There I suck the liquid air. 
All amidst the gardens fair 
Of Hesperus, and his daughters three 
That sing about the golden tree. 
Along the crisped shades and bowers 
Revels the spruce and jocund Spring ; 
The Graces and the rosy-bosomed Hours 
Thither all their bounties bring. 
There eternal Summer dwells. 
And west winds with musky wing 
About the cedam alleys fling 
Nard and cassia's balmy smells. 
Iris there with humid bow 
Waters the odorous banks, that blow 
Flowers of more mingled hue 
Than her purfled scarf can shew, 
And drenches with Elysian dew 
(List, mortals, if your ears be true) 
Beds of hyacinth and roses. 
Where young Adonis oft reposes, 
Waxing well of his deep wound. 
In slumber soft, and on the ground 
Sadly sits the Assyrian queen. 

8z 



Comus 

But far above, in spangled sheen, 
Celestial Cupid, her famed son, advanced 
Holds his dear Psyche, sweet entranced 
After her wandering labours long, 
Till free consent the gods among 
Make her his eternal bride, 
And from her fair unspotted side 
Two blissful twins are to be bom. 
Youth and Joy; so Jove hath sworn. 

But now my task is smoothly done : 
I can fly, or I can run 
Quickly to the green earth's end. 
Where the bowed welkin slow doth bend, 
And from thence can soar as soon 
To the comers of the moon. 

Mortals, that would follow me, 
Love Virtue— she alone is free : 
She can teach ye how to climb 
Higher than the sphery chime ; 
Or, if Virtue feeble were, 
Heaven itself would stoop to her. 



82 



RiCMAKD ClAT & Som, LoflTBD, 

BSXAO STRSST HILL, B.C., AND 

•UHCAY, tUFFOLK. 




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